David J. Huntley “In 1965 we moved back to B.C. after absences in England and in Deep River, Ontario. My father-in-law, Art Stott, a well known newspaperman of Victoria, gave us his old Peterborough canoe. This was made of wood only and had gaping holes between the planks. I gave it a coat of fibreglass and we had a serviceable canoe. It was not long, however, before we found it was not suitable for taking two adults and two small children on extended trips with safety. We thus ordered an 18 ft Chestnut from the Hudson’s Bay Company. In due course it came. It was very poorly finished, and a hole in the canvas was all the excuse I needed to say no thanks. Someone must have suggested a visit to Bill Greenwood for that was our next stop. It took only a short time to realize that this was a man who built fine canoes, and that shoddy work would never be found here. We ordered an 18 footer, with half-ribs for extra security. It cost us $309 plus $15.45 tax. The bill, dated March 18, 1969, is attached. The serial number, 1845, is stamped on the stern stem.

I recall Bill saying that the canvas should last for at least 30 years. It is now 25 years later, and the whole canoe is still in good shape. It suffered a couple of broken planks in the bow when run into at high-speed by a pair of boy scouts, to whom the Dogwood Canoe Club was giving lessons on Deer Lake one day. Des Winterbottom replaced the planks and patched the ribs.

My impression of the canoe is that it is one of remarkable stability, probably the prime requisite when one has small kids in it. The only occasions when it gave its occupants a swim were when playing on the Thompson River. On the first occasion we were peeling out of a strong eddy and a wave splashed in and my bow paddler, Ann Fortin, fell out. The canoe was half-full of water and extremely unstable. I shortly found myself learning about life in a whirlpool while Ann was learning about exiting it down the funnel. On the second occasion my son Charlie, by this time a teenager, and I were attempting to surf behind a rock; the bow dug in and we nearly did an end-over-end.

The price one pays for a stable canoe is in speed. It was probably the slowest canoe in our club, and when paddled by two rather weak-armed people, inevitably found us trailing the pack. This never bothered me. We paddled all over the Lower Mainland, and of course elsewhere on occasion.

Memorable club trips include the North Thompson River (Clearwater to Heffley Creek), and camping on an island in the middle of Skookumchuck rapids near Edgemont.

One of our most memorable trips alone was up Clearwater and Azure Lakes. The portage was made with me at one end and at the other a stick lashed to the canoe was held each end by my wife and daughter. This canoe is heavy (110 lb?) On this trip we had four ‘homes’; these were our house, our car with large tent at the south end of Clearwater Lake, our backpacking tent and cache lay at a campsite on Azure Lake, and finally a camp near treeline on Mt. Huntley.

The end of regular use came when the children became of the age at which going out with parents was dead bottom on their list of priorities. I bought an 18’ Chestnut Cruiser; this was much faster and much more manoeuvrable; it felt tippy initially but once one got used to it one found it was really quite stable and the water did not grab it. The Greenwood is sitting, almost good as new waiting for someone who appreciates its quality to talk me out of it. I want it in good hands.”


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